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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Thursday 23 May 2019

Campaign launched to protect online rights

Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, has launched a global campaign to save it from the destructive effects of abuse and discrimination, political manipulation, and other threats that plague the online world. In a talk at the opening of the Web Summit in Lisbon on Monday, he called on governments, companies and individuals to back a new ‘Contract for the Web’ that aimed to protect people’s rights and freedoms on the Internet. The contract outlines central principles that will be built into a final contract and published in May 2019, when half of the world’s population will be able to get online. More than 50 organisations have already signed the contract, which is published by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation alongside a report that calls for urgent action. ‘For many years there was a feeling that the wonderful things on the web were going to dominate and we’d have a world with less conflict, more understanding, more and better science, and good democracy,’ Berners-Lee told The Guardian. However, he said people have become disillusioned ‘because of all the things they see in the headlines’. Under the principles laid out in the document, which Berners-Lee calls a ‘Magna Carta for the web’, governments must ensure that its citizens have access to all of the Internet, all of the time, and that their privacy is respected so they can be online ‘freely, safely and without fear’.